Thanks to their success in becoming trusted partners to the CEO and with C-level peers, CIOs are now recognized as valued members of the C-suite.
In fact, 58 percent of CIOs say that "helping in business innovation" is now a core expectation of the IT organization, according to a Deloitte study.
Indeed, the CIO and the IT organization are no longer the necessary evil - the CIO is recognized now as a true C-level executive," said John McCaffrey, CIO at The LiRo Group, an architecture, engineering, construction management and tech services firm in Syosset, N.Y. "Now, I see that I'm looked upon as a business process expert and as a trusted partner who can help apply data analysis and data science for business improvements."
McCaffrey will be one of the featured speakers at HMG Strategy's upcoming 2018 New York Global Innovation Summit taking place on August 23 at the Grand Hyatt New York.
From McCaffrey's perspective, CIOs need to become more proactive in helping to identify and communicate opportunities for the business to innovate. "It's imperative as a CIO to look at the "I" in CIO as "information" and the information that can be pulled out of the data that executives didn't even know was there," said McCaffrey. CIOs can help lead the charge in conducting analyses of different parts of the organization that can be used to help identify new business opportunities.
For instance, McCaffrey is currently helping executives at The LiRo Group to recognize new opportunities available for geographic information systems (GIS), virtual design and constructions operations, building information modeling (BIM), business solutions, and technology services. "We're now helping them to gather data and use the data to sustain the infrastructure they're supporting for its lifespan. We're using drones to capture and scan existing infrastructures and then modeling modifications based on these scans."
Connecting the Dots for E-Commerce
Thanks to their unique perspective as to how people, processes, and technology can be interwoven, CIOs are in prime position to help orchestrate innovation initiatives.
At Conair/Cuisinart, Global CIO, Jon Harding is playing a key role in the company's E-commerce digital transformation initiative which is aimed at providing the company with an additional channel to distribute its products for incremental revenue growth and consumer engagement.
As part of these efforts, which began three years ago in the U.K. and Canada and was expanded to the U.S. last year, Harding has become co-leader of the company's Consumer Services function. This team engages with consumers who reach out to Conair/Cuisinart via phone, email or social media for help with products and parts.
"Looking at this from a global perspective, we're looking to sell items that big retail clients don't want to stock, like spare parts for Cuisinart parts," said Harding, who is an advisory board member for the 2018 New York Global Innovation Summit. "We believe that by offering these items directly to consumers through e-commerce, we can strengthen consumer engagement and retain our customers longer."
To help execute on the E-commerce initiative as the company's Global CIO, Harding is working closely with the company's CEO as well as the leaders of each of its relevant business units
"It's really a program of work across various geographies and within each geography there may be multiple projects going on," said Harding. "We're using a common platform on the back end. So, there's a lot of coordination with this, and that's one of the strengths of our IT team in executing on project management. We have a weekly call with the development partners on our development activities in each business line. We can bring that discipline from the IT side while Marketing handles the creative side of developing the website look-and-feel of it for each particular market."